(Bloomberg) — Exact Sciences Corp. has approached Invitae Corp., the genetic-testing company backed by Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management, about a possible merger, according to people familiar with the matter.
The companies are not in active talks and should a deal be reached it would likely be a low-premium, all-stock merger, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. There is no guarantee that an agreement will be announced.
A representatives for Exact Sciences and Invitae declined to comment.
Invitae offers genetic testing for a range of diseases, including hereditary cancer and cardiology. Its shares fell 3.9% to close at $29.66 in New York trading Friday, giving the company a market value of about $5.9 billion. Invitae rose 13% in after-market trading.
The stock had rallied earlier in the week on positive results.
Exact Sciences fell to 5.6% to $102.00, giving it a market value of about $17.5 billion.
Testing companies that handle cancer screening have been busy merging as they come up with new ways to detect diseases before they get out of control. Last year, Illumina Inc. agreed to buy Grail Inc. for roughly $8 billion while Exact Sciences agreed to pay about $2.15 billion for Thrive Earlier Detection Corp.
Wood is the biggest holder of Invitae shares with a stake of about 11%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its stock jumped in March when she described it as “one of the most important companies in the genomic revolution.”
SoftBank Group Corp. led a $1.15 billion investment in the company in April.
Wood’s firm also has a 6.2% stake in Exact Sciences.
(Updates with Invitae trading in fourth paragraph)
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